[COP25 Press release] Climate summit ends with disappointing results

Two weeks of intense climate negotiations in Madrid have ended. The summit went over time as rich countries adamantly refused to give in to the demands from poor countries for urgent action to address climate losses, additional finances, and higher ambition in the reduction of emissions. The agreement covers a number of important topics, which will guide governments in their forthcoming work to tackle the climate emergency.

An overall message from the summit in Madrid, was sent to all governments. In 2020 they are all required to submit new national climate plans (NDCs). Here in Madrid, it was agreed that,in order to send a signal, governments are encouraged to scale up ambition. The head of the ACT Alliance delegation, Mattias Söderberg, says “We have a climate emergency, and the need for action is urgent. All parties should now return home, and consider how they can scale up their ambition, when they draft their new plans. Parties should keep in mind that the Paris Agreement refers to the need to limit global temperature raise to 1.5 degrees, and that urgent action is needed.”  

The agreement in Madrid acknowledged the need to mobilize support and finance for people and communities facing loss and damage due to the effects of climate change. However, with weak wording, the actual effect is still uncertain. Isaiah Toroitich, ACT Alliance’s Head of Advocacy and Development Policy, says, “We are happy that the need for loss and damage finance has finally been acknowledged, and agreed, and now we hope all developed countries will deliver on the call to mobilize support. Poor and vulnerable people around the world are already suffering the effects of climate change, and we must act now to support them.“

Toroitich continues, “However, we are also concerned, as there is no promise the support will be new, or additional compared to existing commitments. There is therefore a big risk that loss and damage finance, will be taken from existing climate, development and humanitarian funds, meaning that there only will be a change of labels. What we need is action, not a desk-exercise moving funds between different boxes.  We need new finance, above and beyond already existing money.  Without it, we are just cutting the same cake into smaller slices.”

The summit in Madrid has been difficult, and parties have been far apart on several topics. That includes climate finance, where parties ended with a conclusion that they could not agree. Important decisions were therefore pushed forward to 2020. Söderberg comments, “Poor and vulnerable communities need support now, and important decision about climate finance should not be delayed. It is a waste of time and money to gather finance negotiators from all over the world, and to spend two weeks of talks, and to only conclude that talks should continue. “

Fortunately, there was also good news from Madrid. A Gender Action Plan was adopted, with clear references to human rights, and the need for allocation of resources, for gender action. Toroitich comments, “We are happy there could be a good agreement about gender. Gender justice must be addressed in all actions, and it is good, that there is a plan to take this work forward.”

For further comment, please contact:

Mattias Söderberg +45 29 70 06 09, msd@dca.dk
Head of Delegation, ACT Alliance

Isaiah Toroitich +41 79 825 78 99, Isaiah.toroitich@actalliance.org
Head of advocacy and development policy, ACT Alliance

Simon Chambers +1 416 435 0972, simon.chambers@actalliance.org
Director of communications, ACT Alliance